On Tuesday, Washington State’s Legislature passed Senate Bill 5052, sending it to Governor Jay Inslee for consideration. In addition to drastically reducing the amount of cannabis patients can possess and cultivate, the proposal would lead to the closure of all currently operating medical cannabis dispensaries, and would implement a patient registry that is clearly in violation of federal HIPAA laws.
Senate Bill 5052 is an incredibly regressive, and entirely unwanted proposal that would do an untold amount of harm to thousands of patients. The bill would – without any reason whatsoever – reduce the amount of cannabis a qualified patient can possess by over 80%, from twenty-four ounces to three, and would reduce the amount of cannabis they can cultivate by over half, from fifteen plants to six. And that is only if the patient joins a patient registry, a state-operated list of individuals admitting to committing a federal crime. If a patient doesn’t join the registry, they’ll only be able to possess one ounce – the same as all adults 21 and older – and could cultivate just four plants.
The bill would close every medical cannabis dispensary in the state without giving them the opportunity to take part in the new system. Recreational cannabis outlets would be able to apply for a medical cannabis endorsement license indicating that they’re “knowledgeable” in the field of medical cannabis, but that wouldn’t change the fact that this move would lead to a massive decrease in safe access for patients (many cities have a ban on recreational cannabis outlets, but not dispensaries), and would put an end to thousands of jobs.
Opponents of the proposal must do everything they can to let Governor Inslee know that this compassionless approach is adamantly opposed by the community, and that patients deserve better. His contact information – including his phone number, fax number and a contact form – can be found by clicking here. Urge him to veto the measure, or at the very least perform a line-item veto on the worst portions of the bill, such as the patient registry, the reduction in possession and cultivation limits for patients, and the portion of the bill that requires the closure of all dispensaries.
If Governor Inslee does sign the measure into law, or allows it to become law without his signature, legal action to overturn it may be the next step.